Sunday, November 16, 2014 bring or not to bring!

Recently, I had breakfast with my new soon to be daughter in-law Melissa, and my son Kyle. It was great (especially since my son was paying). While we were eating, Melissa, almost hesitantly, asked quietly "Jo Ann, would it be okay if I made an apple pie to bring on Thanksgiving?" Okay? Kyle chimed in, "if you don't mind, I want to make a coconut custard pie." Mind? Are you kidding me? I'd be happy if somebody brought the turkey!

I will never understand why some Thanksgiving Day host feel it's an intrusion for someone to bring a dish of, well, anything. Recently I was talking to a lady in the grocery store who faces a similar situation. She and her family are going to her mother in-law's for the 12th straight year. "She is kind of a plain-ish cook. Nothing fancy, no great culinary stretches. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes. I would love to bring a vegetable casserole. But she would be furious." I. Don't. Get. This!

My Dad, who was the Thanksgiving Day chef for many years, had the mantra "If you know someone who has no place to go, bring them here". So, from time to time, there was an unrelated someone at the table. And, if that someone wanted to bring a favorite dish they knew from years passed, it was encouraged. It's everyone's holiday, not just the host's.

I had an aunt who didn't like anyone to bring food to her house for gatherings. (I suspected that she didn't want anything to overshadow her creations.) And heaven forbid you baked something!  She would reluctantly hold out her arms to take the offering while simultaneously rolling her eyes. So when I hear the question,"what can I bring?", I answer with a smile "anything you want." I will accept it graciously and display prominently. With that in mind, below is a recipe that I found on Pinterest and posted on Facebook for my family and friends to see. It looks wonderful! And I promise, I would not be insulted if anyone brought it!

Creamy Sweet Potato Casserole


 onion, chopped
oz.  (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
can  (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth
cup  packed brown sugar
lb.  sweet potatoes (about 6), peeled, thinly sliced
 RITZ Crackers, crushed
cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans

oven to 350ºF.
COOK onions in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 5 to 7 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add cream cheese, broth and sugar; cook 5 to 7 min. or until cream cheese is melted and sauce is well blended, stirring frequently.
PLACE potatoes in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with sauce.
BAKE 45 min. Combine cracker crumbs and nuts; sprinkle over potatoes. Bake 10 min. or until potatoes are tender

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